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Provost Issues Guidance to Faculty on Classroom Facial Coverings

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Michael Bernstein, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, has issued guidance to faculty concerning social distancing and face coverings in classroom settings. The message reads as follows:

Coning Back Safe and StrongAs we plan for limited in-person instruction this fall semester, health and safety remain our highest priority. With greater volumes of people returning to campus, we want to reiterate the social distancing protocol outlined by the New York State Governor’s Office. To promote the well-being of those in classroom settings, face masks or coverings are expected to be worn properly for the full duration of class periods.

Instructors have the authority to enforce the mask policy in their classrooms. Students who choose to not comply are subject to repercussions as determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. We encourage you to make an announcement about this requirement during the first week of classes, specifically reiterating that students must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths. You are also welcome to include the following statement in your syllabi: “Everyone participating in this class must wear a mask or face covering at all times or have the appropriate documentation for medical exemption. Any student not in compliance with this policy will be asked to leave the class.” In addition, if students need to drink or eat, they should step out of the classroom to do so.

If a student does not wear a face mask, please follow these steps:

STEP 1: Remind the student that a face mask is required while in the classroom.  If the student complies, no further action is necessary.

STEP 2: If the student does not comply, ask them to leave the classroom.

STEP 3:  If the student does not comply or leave the classroom, end the class and report the name and SB ID number of the non-compliant student to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at A member of that team will follow up with you and the student and take appropriate action.

Some students with hearing and communication impairments may need their instructor to wear a clear mask for lip and facial expression purposes. If the student has registered with the Student Accessibility Support Center (SASC) and has requested an accommodation for clear masks, SASC will reach out to the student’s instructors and provide a clear mask for them to wear while teaching and/or interacting with the student. If you have questions, please email or call (631) 632-6748.

The Student Accessibility Support Center (SASC) works with students who may require academic accommodations. If a student is unable to wear a mask for health reasons, the student should contact SASC at SASC will work with the student to help identify arrangements to complete in-person courses in an alternate format. If, however, there is an in-person class that cannot be accommodated in an alternate format, a student may be approved by the Medical Director of Student Health Services to wear a modified face mask or no face covering. In this situation, SASC will communicate this information to the faculty member. Approved students will also be provided with a written exemption from the Medical Director of Student Health Services that indicates any modifications or exceptions, which they must carry with them to show faculty if requested. Please note that medical exemptions are rare and are based solely on medical necessity. If a student is exempt from the face mask policy, please consider how to seat students to ensure proper social distancing within a given instructional setting. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please email  For health related concerns in the classroom, please contact Dr. Rachel Bergeson, Medical Director, at

Thank you for your tremendous efforts in preparing for a safe start to the semester.


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